What Geelong hard-nut Tom Atkins lacks in stature he more than makes up for in traditional grit and grind, his recent move into the midfield adding a ‘new dimension’ to the Cats’ engine room according to Geelong coach Chris Scott.
Atkins has attended 25 centre bounces over the last two weeks, including 19 against the Crows on Saturday, and has made a strong case to stay in the middle after the weekend’s performance.
Not a natural accumulator of the footy, Atkins was a bull around the contest against Adelaide, becoming the first player since 2019 to record 17 tackles in a game, the equal-seventh highest total in any game in AFL/VFL history, and is the first play to apply over 100 pressure points in a game this season (100.2) according to Champion Data.
Speaking to media after the game, Scott said the Atkins move up the ground was a ‘feel thing’ from the coaching group rather than an attempt to fill any Dangerfield-sized holes in the middle of the ground.
“Even with Pat in the side last week we did it,” Scott said.
“He was in good form, and we know what he can give with his work around the ball.
“More than what he does in terms of the contest work and his running power, which is pretty good as well, he just adds another dimension. We’re just trying to build options there.”
The 26-year-old Atkins has filled multiple roles since being promoted to the club’s senior list at the end of 2018.
“He came into our team out of our VFL program as a small forward pressure type,” Scott said.
“Then he went back, excelled there, and now he’s gone up to the midfield so we think he’s building himself into being a really well-rounded player.”